Mitt Romney Gearing Up: Disclosure

Mitt Romney has hired my wife's boss as his pollster.

Taegan Goddard passes along news that Mitt Romney has signed Rich Beeson to be his political director and Neil Newhouse to be his pollster for a presumptive 2012 presidential run.

Rich Beeson, a Republican operative who has worked as a political director at the Republican National Committee and was most recently a partner at the voter contact firm FLS Connect, will be Romney’s political director. Beeson has already moved his family to Massachusetts for his new role.

[…]

And for polling, Romney is bringing on Neil Newhouse, a partner at the polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, GOP sources told RealClearPolitics.

Newhouse was named “pollster of the year” by the American Association of Political Consultants for his polling efforts in Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown’s successful campaign last year.

As noted in my Disclosures, my wife is Chief Operating Officer for Public Opinion Strategies.  Newhouse is both her longtime boss and a family friend.

Neil has been Romney’s pollster for quite a number of years.  He didn’t work on the 2008 campaign only because another partner was already John McCain’s pollster and there were some conflict of interest concerns.

It’s worth mentioning this now but I likely won’t issue a lot of reminders on the matter for reasons noted on the Disclosure page:

My general policy is that, when posting on a POS poll or the work of one of the firm’s partners or associates, to mention this association in the post itself. I typically do not, however, mention this association when writing about clients of the company. The reason is twofold. First, I typically don’t know who they’re working for at any given time. Second, it’s unfair to my wife to mention the association if my comments about the candidate or firm are negative.

In the case of extraordinary circumstances, such as the fact that POS did the polling for John McCain during his 2008 presidential run and for Joe Lieberman once he left the Democratic Party, I’ll typically make it known in a post that the conflict exists but not belabor the point subsequently. It’s reasonable that readers should be apprised of the possible conflict but, again, unreasonable to put my wife in the position of having candidates want to know why the spouse of a senior member of the firm is giving ammunition to the other side with an “even the husband of the candidate’s pollster says he’s a yahoo!’ post. Few who’ve read my posts on McCain and Lieberman come away thinking I’m substantially influenced by the relationship.

Ditto, frankly, Romney.   While I’ve argued for a while now that I think he’s the most likely Republican nominee, I’ve got some pretty serious misgivings.   He just strikes me as the major GOP candidate with the best upside.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Suggested poll question:

    If you learned that a presidential candidate was a gecko would that make you:

    a) More likely to support.

    b) Less likely to support.

    c) Switch to GEICO.

  2. James Joyner says:

    It would presumably depend on how much they could save me on my car insurance.

  3. steve says:

    My initial reaction is that polling will be more important for Romney than other candidates. Palin does not need to poll since her base is locked in. I think he will need to decide if he can overcome being linked to Romneycare. If he gets out front, I would expect Dems to link him to it even more tightly.

    Steve

  4. michael reynolds says:

    A: a bundle.

  5. anjin-san says:

    Mitt mania is in full swing. Hide the family pet…

  6. An Interested Party says:

    What a pity that “RomneyCare” and “ObamaCare” will be able to be so easily linked…

  7. Herb says:

    “I think he will need to decide if he can overcome being linked to Romneycare. If he gets out front, I would expect Dems to link him to it even more tightly. ”

    No doubt, they’ll try, but this strategy will only be useful if Romney jumps on the current Republican bandwagon and starts talking about death panels and socialized medicine and the commerce clause.

    If Romney carefully outlines why he supported health care reform in MA and then explains how he’ll do it better as president, then this strategy is useless.

  8. An Interested Party says:

    “If Romney carefully outlines why he supported health care reform in MA and then explains how he’ll do it better as president, then this strategy is useless.”

    But will that help him in GOP primaries in conservative states with opponents who are of the, wingnut persuasion, shall we say? Remember, any government involvement at all in health care inevitable leads to a government takeover…

  9. An Interested Party says:

    *inevitably

  10. Herb says:

    “But will that help him in GOP primaries in conservative states with opponents who are of the, wingnut persuasion, shall we say?”

    Depends on how long voters of this persuasion are willing to go along with a losing strategy. Obamacare is now law. The people who failed to stop it from becoming law are now promising repeal, which is kind of like someone failing to do the difficult promising to do the impossible. It won’t happen. Yes, they hope to win enough seats in Congress to make it happen, but by the time they do that, institutional inertia will be against them. The best they can hope for is to make changes within the existing system.

    And Romney is the Republican candidate best positioned to do that. (With that said, he should wait until 2016. Obama’s got this next one.)